Update: Black Vox
Turns out WorldNetDaily's Vox Day has a real name after all -- and his dad's on the WND board of directors. Plus: WND's Joseph Farah bites the Moonie hand that feeds him, the ConWeb standard on Reagan and Clinton, and more.
By Terry Krepel
So Vox Day isn't his real name after all.
We learn through World O'Crap, Bartholomew's Notes on Religion and Unscrewing the Inscrutable that the real name of the WorldNetDaily columnist is, apparently, the decidedly less U2-esque Theodore Beale. And he apparently has had quite a career under his real name -- he is authoring the "Eternal Warriors" fantasy series based on what he calls "the Christian concept of spiritual warfare," as well as a former member of the industrial-techno band Psykosonik. And just as Beale's site fails to mention Vox Day, Vox's site fails to mention Beale.
Pretty impressive resumé, and we don't begrudge him that. It's his WND involvement we find intriguing -- like the August 2003 WND interview with Beale that says nothing about his alter ego, even though it's conducted by Tom Ambrose, WND's commentary page editor, where "Day's" weekly column appears. (Beale does try to keep up appearances, though: "Vox" has a bad Mohawk, Beale does not.)
Even more intriguing are Beale/Day's family connections. A June 2003 WND story by Art Moore tells the saga of Robert Beale, who complains that Minnesota officials seized his $3 million, 30-room house for back taxes. Beale insists he was not a Minnesota resident at the time and doesn't owe the taxes, but he refuses to fight the seizure in state tax court because he denies its legitimacy. But it's not until we get to the end of the story that we discover the apparent main reason for the story: "By way of disclosure, Robert Beale is a board member and stockholder in WorldNetDaily.com."
Beale/Day hasn't addressed his identity controversy on his weblog since it flared up earlier this month, but he is involved in a strange debate there over whether allowing women to vote has caused America to go to hell in a handbasket because they tend to vote for Democrats.
WND, for its part, has consistently declined to publicly reveal who else is on its board of directors. You'd think they were ashamed or something.
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah appears to be biting one of the hands that feeds him.
A June 14 WND article points out a "coronation ceremony" crowning the Rev. Sun Myung Moon ad the "king of peace" held in a Senate office building and attended by several members of Congress. Its claimed source is a column two weeks earlier by Bill Berkowitz, best known for detailing the activities of the conservative movement (like, um, WorldNetDaily) for Working for Change, and notes that Moon's speech sounded "like a self-proclaimed messiah."
Lower in the article, though, are Farah's rants about it, made on his radio show: "Do you think this is an appropriate event to take place in your U.S. Capitol? Does this disturb you at all?" The article notes that "Farah pointed out the mainstream media failed to report the coronation ceremony," but given that the ceremony occured in March, it's also fair to point out that WND didn't report it, either.
Farah has apparently decided to run with the story on his radio show, promoting an appearance by Moon-bashing blogger John Gorenfeld, which notes that Gorenfeld "is working on a piece for NPR's "On the Media" about the role of the Washington Times on Capitol Hill."
(We believe this is the first time that the ConWeb has based a story on two sources that can also be found on the ConWebWatch links page.)
Left unmentioned in either article are WND's business connections to Moon's media empire, dba News World Communications -- Farah's column appears in the weekly national version of the Washington Times, and WND has a content-sharing agreement with the Moon-published Insight magazine. Also uncertain at this time is whether Farah and WND are sufficiently disturbed by this incident to cut any ties with the Moon organization.
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Time for a quick round of Then and Now:
"Left Loves a Liar"
-- article about David Brock, Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, April 22, 2002
"It is tempting to dismiss (Jayson) Blair as a 'known liar' who will never tell the truth. ... If the evidence suggests that Blair has turned over a new leaf and is coming clean about his deceptions, his other charges require scrutiny."
-- Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, June 15
* * *
WorldNetDaily has yet to run an original story about the efforts of Bush Administration lawyers to find ways to justify abuse of prisoners in Iraq -- any mention of it has been limited to a column by token liberal Ellen Ratner -- but it did manage to find space June 4 to do a story on the honorary doctorate received by WND columnist Jane Chastain.
* * *
The ConWeb whining that somehow the hundreds of hours of TV time devoted to Ronald Reagan's life and legacy were not sufficiently positive enough continues. NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky argues that to say anything less than laudatory about Reagan or to suggest, as she claims Dan Rather did, that there were other news events going on last week were attempts "attempt to undermine the somber and respectful but also optimistic memorials for President Reagan."
CNSNews.com ran a June 15 story that purports to be a "Left and Right Clash Over Reagan Media Coverage," but only three of the story's 17 paragraphs (written by Robert Bluey) address liberal complaints. The rest, unsurprisingly, are given over to the folks down the hall at CNS' parent, the Media Research Center.
With this ConWeb theory of coverage comes its corollary -- no one is ever permitted to say anything nice about Bill Clinton, not even George W. Bush. This comes in a June 15 NewsMax story in which conservatives (well, Michael Savage) are allegedly upset that Bush dared to say nice things about Clinton during the unveiling of the latter's official portrait at the White House.
* * *
While columnist Cal Thomas doesn't normally cross into ConWebWatch territory (unless he's complaining about a conspiracy to keep his column out of newspapers), we couldn't help but pass along his June 6 column, which criticizes a ruling banning "partial birth abortion." The judge, he said, "not only bought the illogic of Planned Parenthood's attorneys, she also adopted their disingenuous language."
In the very next sentence -- the very next sentence, mind you -- Thomas engages in his own disingenuous language: "This isn't about abortion. This is child sacrifice, a practice associated with ancient cults and pagan rituals."